Permanent Account Number (PAN) and its card, collectively called PAN Card is a very important document in India. You need a PAN Card to buy and sell everything from jewellery to house or even a mobile phone on instalments.
PAN Card is also accepted as Proof of Identity while boarding flights or during ticket checks in trains.
Many transactions will not be possible after March 31, 2018, unless you hold a PAN Card. Hence, we explain the simple steps on how you can get a PAN Card.
Following flash demonetization of currency notes of Rs.500 and Rs.1,000 denominations by the Indian government on November 9, 2016, several new rules and regulations related to monetary transactions have come into force.
These rules are enforced with the sole intention of curbing tax evasion by unscrupulous persons and business establishments.
Consequently, all deals that involve larger sums of money now have to be conducted using the Permanent Account Number (PAN) issued by India’s Income Tax Department.
Who Needs PAN Card?
Under India’s Income Tax laws, every citizen is required to hold a Permanent Account Number (PAN). Additionally, certain categories of foreign passport holders residing in India are also required to hold a PAN Card. This includes but is not restricted to:
- Foreign spouses and children of Indian nationals residing in India.
- Indian nationals or persons of Indian origin holding the Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) status and residing in this country.
- Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) who reside abroad but own financial assets in India including houses, plots of land, commercial establishments, vehicles, bank accounts, savings schemes, stocks traded on Bombay Stock Exchange and National Stock Exchange and other financial instruments.
- Foreign directors of India registered companies.
- Overseas Citizens of India holding fixed or movable assets of monetary value in India.
- Persons engaged in business in India.
- Self-employed persons.
- Professionals including doctors, engineers, lawyers, Chartered Accountants.
- Charitable and other trusts operating in India.
- Trustees of religious organizations.
- Hindu Undivided Families.
- Individuals who import or export merchandise to and from India.
- Owners of start-up companies.
- Minors children who hold investment made by parents.
These facts amply highlight that PAN is essential for anyone wanting to conduct financial transactions in India. Those exempted include foreigners on tourist visas and a few other specific categories.
Since PAN Card is a very important document, the Indian government has made it easy for people to obtain one.
Documents Required for PAN Card
To apply for a PAN Card you will require certain documents. These include:
Proof of Identity: Any of the following document copies are accepted:
i) Aadhar Card.
ii) Voter ID Card.
iii) Valid Passport.
iv) A valid driving license issued by any Indian state.
v) Weapons/ Firearms license.
vi) Ration card where a picture of the applicant is fixed and stamped.
vii) Pension card (PRAN Card).
viii) Senior Citizen Card.
ix) Passbook of nationalized bank/ India Post Bank with a picture of the applicant stamped by the bank/ India Post.
x) ID cards issued by India Post in some states.
xi) All other identification proof provided by Central government or state government.
xii) Certificate of Identity signed and stamped by sitting Member of Parliament, Member of Legislative Assembly, Gazetted Officer or attested by a Judge/ Magistrate of Court.
Proof of Address: You can submit any of these document copies
i) Aadhar Card.
ii) Voter ID Card.
iii) Valid Passport.
iv) India Post Bank with the address of the applicant.
v) Property Tax Certificate/ Assessment Order bearing the address.
vi) Domicile Certificate issued by the state government.
vii) Property Certificate/ Ownership Deed/ Lease Agreement.
viii) Certificate of employment bearing the present address.
ix) Letter of accommodation provided by Central or state government.
x) Address certificate signed and stamped by MP, MLA, Gazetted Officer of attested by Judge/Magistrate of Court.
xi) Latest electricity/ water bill.
xii) Landline telephone bill.
xiii) Gas connection- cylinder/ piped registration book.
xiv) Bank Passbook.
xv) Depository account statements.
Proof of Birth: Copies of any of the following documents can be used:
i) Birth Certificate.
ii) Valid Passport.
iii) Pension card (PRAN card) or pension order and statement.
iv) Senior Citizen card.
v) Marriage certificate issued by Registrar of Marriages.
vi) Secondary School Certificate (SSC) or its equivalent stating date of birth.
vii) School Leaving Certificate stating the date of birth.
viii) Higher Secondary Certificate or equivalent stating date of birth.
ix) Degree certificate issued by recognized university stating date of birth.
x) Domicile certificate issued by state government.
xi) Affidavit sworn before magistrate/ Judge and stamped by the Court.
xii) India Post ID card stating date of birth.
Photograph & Images
You need to submit two photographs with your application for a PAN Card.
i) The size of a photograph is 2.5cm x 3.5cm. The picture should be with white background
ii) For online applications, the picture should not exceed 200 DPI.
iii) Signature for online applications should also not exceed 200 DPI.
Once you have these documents ready, you can apply for a PAN Card.
Where to Apply for PAN Card
There are three ways through which you can apply for a PAN Card in India- Offline and Online.
- Authorized PAN Centers: You can apply for a PAN Card through any outlet authorized outlet of UTI Infrastructure Technology and Services Ltd (UTIITSL) or National Securities Depository Ltd (NSDL).
- Online: Again, UTIITSL and NSDL offer the facility of online applications for PAN Card.
- Online & Mail: There are two simple processes involved here, which we will also discuss further in this article.
- Private Agents and Banks: The Indian government has not appointed any individual to accept or process PAN Card applications. However, in certain parts of India, authorized agencies permit individuals to provide the service in remote areas to enable rural folk to obtain a PAN card. Certain banks also provide this service.
Authorized PAN Centers/ Authorized Agents & Banks
Remember, all PAN Card application forms have to be completed in black ink. Ensure you carry a pen that writes in black, while applying through an authorized center.
- Visit the authorized PAN Card application center near your location.
- Fill Form-49A for new/ replacement PAN Card.
- Affix your pictures of the said size in the relevant boxes.
- Attach self-attested copies of any of the documents listed above as Proof of Identity, Proof of Birth and Proof of Address.
- Sign in the relevant boxes. This signature should be the same you use for every other purpose.
- Pay the fee of Rs.93 plus 18 per cent Goods and Services Tax by cash or credit/debit card (where card payments are accepted).
- Procure the signed and stamped receipt for the application and payment.
- This receipt contains a tracking number. You can track the status of your application using this tracking number on UTIITSL and NSDL websites.
How to apply Pan Card Online?
Online PAN Card applications can be done through UTIITSL and NSDL websites. Follow below Mentioned Steps to apply for Pan Card online.
- Visit the UTIITSL or NSDL website.
- Click on the Online PAN Card application link.
- Access Form-49A for PAN Card application.
- Fill your personal details, including name, father/ husband name, address and other details.
- Upload photographs of the size mentioned above.
- Upload signature of the size mentioned above.
- Also upload copies of all documents for Proof of Identity, Proof of Birth, Proof of Address.
- Once completed, click the ‘Next’ or ‘Review’ link.
- Review every detail you have filled in.
- Make amendments or corrections if any. Remember, correcting PAN card details once submitted is a lengthy process. Hence, this step is vital.
- Click on the ‘Submit’ link.
- Here, you will be asked to make a payment online.
- Select the mode by which you wish to make the payment.
- There are three types of payment modes available: Net banking, credit card and debit card.
- Here, you have to pay Rs.93 plus 18 percent GST for resident Indian nationals.
- NRIs and OCIs residing outside India and wish to get it delivered to their foreign address have to pay equivalent of Rs. 1,020, which includes the PAN Card fee of Rs.93 plus delivery charges and GST.
- You will receive an email confirmation of the online application, with a tracking number.
Pan Card Application Form
For those who wish to apply for a PAN Card by mail, UTIITSL and NSDL also provide the facility.
- Visit the UTIITSL or NSDL website.
- Click on the Apply PAN Card link.
- Access Form-49A.
- Fill all your details such as your name, the name of father/ husband, address, date of birth and other relevant details.
- Click on the ‘Next’ or ‘Review’ link.
- Here, you can review your details and make changes if any.
- Once you have reviewed the application, click on the ‘Next’ link.
- Upon choosing the ‘Print’ option, you will be asked to make an online payment.
- Make the payment using the same options mentioned under the online application process.
- Upon successful payment, proceed to print the application.
- You will receive an email confirmation of the payment with a tracking number.
- Your PAN Card application will come printed with a barcode.
- Mail the PAN Card application along with supporting documents to your nearest UTIITSL or NSDL office by Registered Post or Expedited Mail Service )- Speed Post.
- The address of the nearest office is mentioned on their websites.
- You can track the status of your application online.
Understanding a PAN Card
Generally, all PAN Cards applied physically through authorized centers, online and through the mail are sent to applicants within 30 days from receipt of the application.
Once you receive the PVC (plastic) PAN Card, it is essential to know what features it carries. A PAN Card will bear:
- Your photograph.
- Image of your signature.
- Full name of the applicant.
- Name of your father or husband.
- The Permanent Account Number or PAN issued by Income Tax Department.
- A hologram seal that indicates its authenticity and bears logo of the Income Tax Department.
- The reverse side will bear the name and address of the issuing agency.
All Permanent Account Numbers are composed of 10 characters. These include five letters followed by four numbers and ending with one alphabet.
Alphabets on PAN Card
Every alphabet of your Permanent Account Number reflected on your PAN Card has a specific meaning.
- The first three characters are a combination of alphabets from A to Z.
- The fourth character signifies the following:
A- Association of Persons.
B- Body of Individuals.
H- Hindu Undivided Family.
L- Local Authority.
J- Judicial Entity.
T- Trust (Charitable, commercial and others)
K- Krishi (Agriculturist like farmer/ farmer bodies/ agriculture federation and farming cooperatives)
- Fifth character: The fifth character is the first alphabet of your family name.
- Four digits: These are a combination of our numbers from 0 to 9. These four digits are your unique identity in the Permanent Account Number, along with alphabets.
- Last character: The last character- also an alphabet- is part of the five digit unique PAN along with the four numbers.
Fake & Duplicate PAN Cards
Under Income Tax laws, no individual can hold more than one Permanent Account Number (PAN).
Hence, never apply for another PAN Card if you already hold one. Should you lose a PAN card for any reason, you can get the same replaced by following the same process as applying for a new one.
Only, some information you need to fill in differs.
In July 2017, the Indian government cancelled some 1.5 million PAN Cards, in an unprecedented move. This cancellation was done for two reasons.
- The Income Tax Department detected several fake PAN cards, whose records did not exist in the government database.
- Individuals who held more than one Permanent Account number also had their PAN Cards cancelled.
- According to unconfirmed reports, the Indian government has launched investigations into why people holding PAN applied for more numbers and PAN Cards.
- Remember, holding more than one PAN Card with different numbers is illegal. You can face criminal charges and legal proceedings at your expense.
- Fake PAN Cards can be easily detected when you use one to open bank accounts or submit as ID proof for any reason. The PAN database immediately gives the name, date of birth and other details of a PAN Cardholder, once the number is keyed in.
- Carrying a bogus PAN Card can land you in serious trouble with the law. You are prone to face criminal charges and legal proceedings.
- An App for Android and iOS-based smart-phones helps generate fake PAN cards. This is a serious criminal offense. Generating and using a fake Permanent Account Number is cognizable offense and attracts very stiff punishment under the Indian Penal Code.
- Applying for PAN Card from unauthorized agents can sometimes cause you to get fake ones.
Uses of PAN Card
A PAN Card has innumerable uses in India. Indeed, it is an indispensible document, regardless of whether you qualify to pay Income Tax. Here are some uses of PAN Card.
- To open a bank account.
- Registering a company/ startup/ business in your name.
- Filing Income Tax Returns.
- Investing in Post Office savings schemes, Mutual Funds, Systematic Investment Plans.
- Trading in stock and commodities markets.
- Buying or selling jewelry or other stuff for prices exceeding Rs.25,000.
- Crediting bank accounts with cash in excess of Rs.49,999.
- Identity proof while traveling by air or rail in India.
- To submit to your employer as proof of identity and Tax Deduction at Source.
- For every financial transaction such as buying or selling the property and other valuable assets.
- Proof of identity while applying for the Indian passport.
- Proof of identity while entering protected areas or places of tourist interest including Taj Mahal.
Lost PAN Card?
Sometimes, we lose a PAN card for various reasons. It may get damaged or inadvertently misplaced. Often, people lose their PAN Card if their wallets or purses are stolen. In such a case, you need not worry.
Here are steps you need to take to Apply for Lost Pan Card
- File a First Information Report (FIR) with the nearest police station where your PAN card was stolen.
- Apply either through authorized centers or online for a replacement PAN Card. You need to complete and submit Form-49-AA or reissue of your PAN Card.
- The same fees are charged for reissue of a PAN Card.
- You need to submit the same documents for a replacement PAN Card.
- Clearly, cite the reasons for seeking a replacement on Form-49 AA.
- If your PAN Card was stolen, attach a copy of the police FIR along with the application.
Correcting a PAN Card
Unfortunately, PAN Cards sometimes come with mistakes in the spelling of your name, name of your father or husband, date of birth or wrong signature or image.
In such cases, you can seek a reissue of PAN Card immediately. To make the amendments, you need to submit the same documents given while applying for a new PAN.
Unless you can conclusively prove the mistakes on your PAN Card were made by the issuing authority, you will have to pay for an amended version.
PAN for Married Women
Women that held a PAN Card on their maiden name need to get it amended after marriage, to reflect their new and assumed identity. This is a very simple process. You can do so online or through an authorized PAN application center.
A new Permanent Account Number is not issued to married women. Instead, the same number holds good but reflects under your married name.
- Submit the Form-49 AA seeking reissue of the PAN Card.
- Cite marriage as the reason for seeking this reissue.
- Submit copies of your earlier PAN Card as proof and reference.
- Attach an attested copy of the marriage certificate issued by Registrar of Marriage.
- Include a copy of your husband’s PAN Card.
- Provide proof of address of your new residence.
Remember, married women carrying PAN Card in their maiden name can face innumerable problems. You may be unable to open a joint account with your husband or lay claim to his bequests.
Hence, it is advisable to get the Permanent Account Number transferred to your new, married name.
PAN Card for Minors
Rules regarding PAN Card for minors are rather ambiguous. Under Income Tax Department laws, minors under whose names properties or financial assets are registered, become liable to pay taxes. These taxes are filed by the parent or guardian of the minor.
However, for income earned by minors in form of rent or interests and dividends or other investments has to be filed on behalf of the underage child.
Hence, a minor can also hold a PAN Card with the rider that a parent or guardian is responsible for its use and filing taxes.
The Indian government has made it compulsory for all PAN Card and Aadhar Card holders to link the two before March 31, 2018. This can be done very easily by visiting the Income Tax Department’s e-filing website.
- Key in your Aadhar Card number on the box in the relevant link.
- Next, key in the PAN Card number in the relevant box.
- Click ‘Submit’.
- You will get an instant verification of the linking.
Alternatively, you can visit your bank and request for the linking. Or, visit the nearest PAN or Aadhar enrollment center and do the needful. The process takes less than a minute.
As we have seen, PAN Card is a very important document for every Indian citizen residing in or outside the country. Additionally, it is also necessary for companies, trusts, charities and other organizations.
Regardless whether or not you pay taxes, it is important to hold a PAN Card. Also remember, people who do not come under the taxable income category are also required to file Income Tax returns every financial year. This is made possible through PAN card.
For the uninitiated, PAN Card is not a new concept. In fact, it traces its history back to 1970s, when the Indian government made it compulsory for all taxpayers to hold a Permanent Account Number.
The purpose of a PAN was to make it easier for taxpayers and the Income Tax Department to maintain records. Hence, PAN was first introduced in India in 1972.
Unfortunately, the system was not computerized for obvious reasons. Hence, PANs issued in those days came with innumerable loopholes and inherent problems.
For example, a resident issued a PAN Card in one part of India could not pay taxes at another location in the country, since records were kept on paper files and not on a nationwide computerized database. PAN
Cards nowadays are easy to apply as we have seen and do not cost much. Having a PAN Card is beneficial to you. Hence, it is highly advisable to apply for one now.